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RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak

 
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RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 4:38:31 PM   
wodin


Posts: 8045
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From: England
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Hmm..yeah didn't think of the cost implications...shame.

As for those who think good visuals would mean a poor game that really is silly. There is no reason why a grog wargame can't look fantastic.
Take GGWITE the map is beautiful. I loved the counters in the SSG games (though they where love them or hate them). Some recent boardgame art is absolutely superb both maps and counters, infact I think PC games are well behind boardgames in the art area at the moment and really there is no need for that to be the case.

quote:

ORIGINAL: PipFromSlitherine


quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Iain..why aren't wargames then taking all that PC power and doing something with it. Yes tablets can do this and that but they are still no where nears as powerful as a PC.

Surely something innovative could come along and reshape how we see grog like wargames by using the power of the modern day PC. I'm not talking 3D RTS style or anything here but may really beautiful 3D maps or 3D Overlays..I'm not sure what can be done to be honest to use the power..but surely something can be..surely we haven't gone as far as we can do when it comes to the more Grog like wargames?




quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil

There is no reason why complex games cant run on tablets. The processor is way more powerful than desktop PC's from a few years ago let alone the classics from the past.

Which complex wargame series that we used to produce have you seen us stop supporting that gives rise to this concern? World in Flames is almost complete and to release this year and War in the West is going well.

If you mean you see less of these releases than the lighter wargames then.... yes of course! These complex games take so much longer to make that you will by definition see less of them.

I think the change we are seeing is that there is an uptake of lighter wargames from the tablet audiences rather than a decline in complex games. It may feel like that as the news for these games covers more sites and there are more releases but I don't see any evidence to back it up. Light wargames are growing and as a result complex games are a smaller % of the total.


Super-high-quality graphics are very expensive to produce, and yet generally will not give you a huge boost to the sales of a hardcore wargame (there does, in fact, appear to be a % of hardcore gamers that consider good visuals to be a sign that the game can't be very good... ).

Cheers

Pip




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Post #: 61
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 7:25:32 PM   
berto


Posts: 4975
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From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
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quote:

ORIGINAL: PipFromSlitherine

Super-high-quality graphics are very expensive to produce, and yet generally will not give you a huge boost to the sales of a hardcore wargame (there does, in fact, appear to be a % of hardcore gamers that consider good visuals to be a sign that the game can't be very good... ).


Scourge of War (Gettysburg etc.) -- case in point?

Because of its immersive, "realistic" 3D graphics, I first dismissed that game (series) as yet another light, frothy RTS. Was I wrong! Don't let the "pretty" graphics fool you. SoW is a profoundly deep, truly "realistic" hard-core war game at its core.

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(in reply to PipFromSlitherine)
Post #: 62
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 7:50:16 PM   
berto


Posts: 4975
Joined: 3/13/2002
From: metro Chicago, Illinois, USA
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

There's also the tendency of wargames featuring events that, to Americans, belong to their national history because they feature a well known battle Americans participated in, which are presumably attractive from a commercial perspective. To Europeans and other non-Americans, this might not be the case, which has an impact on sales.

I don't think that Americans are inherently more self-centered in this way than any other nationality. It's just that we are the 800-pound gorilla of the global war gaming market.

I mean to say, just to give one example: Suppose Finland's population was 300 million (about America's current number), while the USA's population was 5 million (about Finland's current number). I'd bet there would be far fewer Bulge and D-Day games, and far more games on: the Winter (Russo-Finnish) War (1939-1940), the Finnish Civil War (1918), the Great Northern War (Finnish operations, 1710-1721), etc.

The same could be said about the French, Spanish, Japanese, or anybody else. If their war gaming markets were as large as ours, you would surely see many more games published catering to their national interests.

As China grows to overtake the USA economically, and as the population of Chinese computer users looms larger and larger, wanna bet we'll start seeing many, many more war games about China?

quote:

Playing the same Eastern Front operations over and over is also not all that interesting after a while.

Would the popularity of the Eastern Front among Americans (not to say all the world's war gamers) suggest that, at heart, we Americans are secretly Commies? Or Nazis? (Don't answer that! )

quote:

It would be refreshing to play operational wargames covering the less well known operations.

As an American, I totally agree. I'm still patiently waiting for games that do justice to one of my main areas of interest -- European conflicts pre-Napoleon. (I don't much like the current crop.)

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Post #: 63
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:04:43 PM   
rogo727


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They annoced this game back in 2005. That's what I'm talking about.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

And geez only after seven years of development .....
warspite1

This is the board game being talked about - not the computer version...



_____________________________

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Post #: 64
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:06:35 PM   
rogo727


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Lol I thought it was the other way around!!! Thanks wodin.
quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

You do realise Matrix and SLitherine are the same company now? Slitherine Group is their real name. Matrix was bought out same as Ageod. Thye just kept their own names but really their all Slitherine.
quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

And geez only after seven years of development ..... Wonder how the programmers are taking this into account .. (See my previous post about the year 2031). Makes me wonder if matrix shouldn't hand this over to slitherine. Call me crazy but I do see slitherine outlasting matrix in the future...they seem to be open to more ideas and willing to implement them. I do not see ONE matrix game being planned for tablets or mobile gaming. Almost reminds me of a grandfather/grandson who are business partners.
quote:

ORIGINAL: Missouri_Rebel

HoI 3 has much more than just generals. More of a tactical nature it seems and maybe too much micromanagement, but there is a lot of depth to the game. The scale is both smaller and larger at the same time than WiF. I have to admit that while I own HoI3 and its DLC's, I haven't actually played it that often.

But back to your VASSAL point. I think you may be correct. It might be the only hope for uber complexity as many old games have been made available through VASSAL.

An unnamed member contacted me by PM to discuss WiF. This person is an avid gamer and one very familiar with WiF. He stated that it might not be as good as many think it is. When I asked why, his response was this: (I hope he doesn't mind and of course he will stay anonymous)

My gripes with it are at both high and low levels. I'll start high and work down. Also, bear in mind that the last version I played was 5th Edition, and it's been in the last millenium. I'm sure they have improved a few things.

1. Physical Size of Game: It's too big to play unless you have a very large playing area. The main ET and PT maps are each 44 x 34 inches. Supplements add even more real estate.

2. Unnecessary Complexity: It seems to me as if the designers set about making their game as big as they could, and then designed the combat systems. Each type of combat (land, air, naval, sub, anti-sub, anti-air, etc.) requires a different resolution mechanic. IMO, the designers could have developed more realistic and smoother rules. Had they done so, it would be more playable.

3. It's a monster game. Takes forever to play. The expansions (ships in flames, planes in flames, jeeps in flames, etc.) only make it that much more complex and unwieldy. Now, if you can set up 2 or 3 44 x 34 inch maps for a year while you play one turn a night once a week (avg. wargame group), and you like monster games, it's probably okay.

4. For all of its complexity, it's not particularly realistic.

5. For at least five editions, the rules were just plain broken at several levels (can't remember details, only remember the frustrations of contradictory rules and in some cases, missing rules). I presume that the Internet has allowed them to address this problem to an extent.

Moving to a more tactical level:

1. Ground combat is very odd for the scale. They have an impulse system that governs all their game impulses, but it makes the entire game very unstable. If a particular turn goes long, one side can use it to trounce the other.

2. I intensely dislike the naval system. The game encourages players to just move their massive fleets out of port and park them in a blockade of enemy ports in perpetuity. This never happened, and is extremely unrealistic. (Gets back to my point about how complicated it is vs. how realistic it is.)

3. Many of the rules are out of proportion to the level of simulation. The result is something that calls to mind the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Summary of WiF Peeves:

A. More complicated than it needs to be owning to lazy system and unit design that never evolved through several editions.

B. In most practical gaming situations, it's unplayable because of its physical size.

C. It takes way too long to play it (especially since the usual Axis tactic is that if they don't win by the end of 1942, they give up and want to reset and play again, having just taken 2-3 months of game nights to get to that point—probably happens in other games as well, but it plagues this one as the Axis, if their wheels come off, cannot sustain a prolonged war of attrition because of the impulse system, which makes it impossible for the Axis to replace their losses to the level needed to compete in a long game).

For the record, when I complain about the complexity, I'm also an ASL player, so I'm not just whining—it's way more complicated than it needs to be to simulate what they're trying to simulate.

The root of the problems with the mechanics, I think, is the same as for Third Reich: Their 1st edition had a beer-and-pretzel countermix and mechanical system wrapped with a set of complicated rules the creates unrealistic situations because its the only way they could make the game work. Instead of slapping more and more expansions onto it while increasing the counter density and rules bloat, I think they would have been better served to review their individual subsystems and polish them.


Your response?







_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 65
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:13:27 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

They annoced this game back in 2005. That's what I'm talking about.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

And geez only after seven years of development .....
warspite1

This is the board game being talked about - not the computer version...


warspite1

But not what the original post was about....

_____________________________

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Post #: 66
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:17:39 PM   
rogo727


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True. Just pointing out that after seven years and the end is not in sight for the basic game does not bold well for it.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

They annoced this game back in 2005. That's what I'm talking about.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

And geez only after seven years of development .....
warspite1

This is the board game being talked about - not the computer version...


warspite1

But not what the original post was about....



_____________________________

"I thank God that I was warring on the gridirons of the midwest and not the battlefields of Europe"
Nile Kinnick 1918-1943

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 67
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:21:39 PM   
warspite1


Posts: 19971
Joined: 2/2/2008
From: England
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quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

True. Just pointing out that after seven years and the end is not in sight for the basic game does not bold well for it.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1


quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

They annoced this game back in 2005. That's what I'm talking about.
quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

quote:

ORIGINAL: rogo727

And geez only after seven years of development .....
warspite1

This is the board game being talked about - not the computer version...


warspite1

But not what the original post was about....




warspite1

No, sure has been a frustrating wait ...... one day hopefully - and I will be at the front of the queue

_____________________________

England expects that every man will do his duty - Horatio Nelson 1805.




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Post #: 68
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 8:38:26 PM   
catwhoorg


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For some games clearly graphics are more important (I'm thinking tactical recreations)

Once you get to a strategic game, which is basically counters on a board, then graphics that are good enough are all that is needed.

Where the increased time/effort (money) should be used IMHO is improving AI.

But as its durn hard to script a good AI for say chess, thats a huge ask.

(in reply to warspite1)
Post #: 69
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 10:54:53 PM   
Arjuna


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quote:

ORIGINAL: catwhoorg
But as its durn hard to script a good AI for say chess, thats a huge ask.


With no disrespect catwhoorg, scripting is never going to produce good AI. Scripting as its usually referred to is scenario specific. Even with conditional scripting once you have played it a few times you will know that it will do X or Y but never Z and so it can be easily beat. If you want good AI you have to move to a generic system where the AI controlled forces are situationally aware, can adapt to what they find happening and can develop a plan to suit.

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Post #: 70
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/6/2013 11:22:49 PM   
Perturabo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

There's also the tendency of wargames featuring events that, to Americans, belong to their national history because they feature a well known battle Americans participated in, which are presumably attractive from a commercial perspective. To Europeans and other non-Americans, this might not be the case, which has an impact on sales.

I don't think that Americans are inherently more self-centered in this way than any other nationality. It's just that we are the 800-pound gorilla of the global war gaming market.

I mean to say, just to give one example: Suppose Finland's population was 300 million (about America's current number), while the USA's population was 5 million (about Finland's current number). I'd bet there would be far fewer Bulge and D-Day games, and far more games on: the Winter (Russo-Finnish) War (1939-1940), the Finnish Civil War (1918), the Great Northern War (Finnish operations, 1710-1721), etc.

The same could be said about the French, Spanish, Japanese, or anybody else. If their war gaming markets were as large as ours, you would surely see many more games published catering to their national interests.

I can't really relate to it because I base my gaming on what period/place has interesting hardware and tactics, not on "national interests" or any silly reason like that.

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Post #: 71
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 5:58:54 AM   
warspite1


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It may be "silly" to you, but frankly, I much prefer a game that involves the British as this gives me more interest in the subject matter. Yes, I have played games with no direct British involvement - WITE for example - but this is not my preferred game type.

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Post #: 72
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 6:10:17 AM   
Punk Reaper


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

It may be "silly" to you, but frankly, I much prefer a game that involves the British as this gives me more interest in the subject matter. Yes, I have played games with no direct British involvement - WITE for example - but this is not my preferred game type.



I'll second that.

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Post #: 73
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 10:57:06 AM   
british exil


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

It may be "silly" to you, but frankly, I much prefer a game that involves the British as this gives me more interest in the subject matter. Yes, I have played games with no direct British involvement - WITE for example - but this is not my preferred game type.


I don't like playing games where I have to fight the British. It really hurts me to have "kill" units.
Does feel strange defeating the British units and it feels strange admiting it.

And before anybody jumps on me, no I do not need medical help!


Mat


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Post #: 74
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 10:58:12 AM   
Iain McNeil


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On the issue of why are we not using PC performance to make bigger/detailed games - The PC has far more processing power than AI would actually need if programmed well. The performance really only comes in to play for teh grpahical side. The issue is that creating a good AI is something that is specific to a game and its set of rules and a huge huge task that gets exponentially more complex as the game gets more complex so doing it for the complex games takes a lot of time and money. The AI has to be scripted to some extent in complex games as its impossible to really evaluate the rules and game situation. Even chess AI can beaten by a human and that game is extremely simple in terms of rules and scope. You cannot reuse the good AI from one game to the next so you start from scratch on the next game as it has different rules. There are sometimes elements you can reuse but it doesn't save much time. The other issue is the AI has to evolve as the game evolves. Lets say for example you add a small feature near the end of development - this could completely break the AI unless it properly accounts for it. Lets say you re-balance some stats - again this could break the AI.

EDIT - missed half a sentence - should have said performance was only an issue for the graphical side.

< Message edited by Iain McNeil -- 3/8/2013 1:01:56 PM >


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RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 11:37:15 AM   
CarnageINC


Posts: 2010
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil

On the issue of why are we not using PC performance to make bigger/detailed games - The PC has far more processing power than AI would actually need if programmed well. The performance really only comes in to play The issue is that creating a good AI is something that is specific to a game and its set of rules and a huge huge task that gets exponentially more complex as the game gets more complex so doing it for the complex games takes a lot of time and money. The AI has to be scripted to some extent in complex games as its impossible to really evaluate the rules and game situation. Even chess AI can beaten by a human and that game is extremely simple in terms of rules and scope. You cannot reuse the good AI from one game to the next so you start from scratch on the next game as it has different rules. There are sometimes elements you can reuse but it doesn't save much time. The other issue is the AI has to evolve as the game evolves. Lets say for example you add a small feature near the end of development - this could completely break the AI unless it properly accounts for it. Lets say you re-balance some stats - again this could break the AI.


Here is a novel idea, why not make PC war games without a AI. Do something similar to vassal but have the computer keep all the record keeping of what ever it needs, just like a normal pbem game. I know you kill off some of the market for solitary players but if they want to play they can do what regular board gamers have done for generations, play hot seat both sides.

This way you can make very complex games without worrying about how a AI will react. Has it been done? Shouldn't it be tried?

(in reply to Iain McNeil)
Post #: 76
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 11:43:49 AM   
Rtwfreak

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: berto


quote:

ORIGINAL: PipFromSlitherine

Super-high-quality graphics are very expensive to produce, and yet generally will not give you a huge boost to the sales of a hardcore wargame (there does, in fact, appear to be a % of hardcore gamers that consider good visuals to be a sign that the game can't be very good... ).


Scourge of War (Gettysburg etc.) -- case in point?

Because of its immersive, "realistic" 3D graphics, I first dismissed that game (series) as yet another light, frothy RTS. Was I wrong! Don't let the "pretty" graphics fool you. SoW is a profoundly deep, truly "realistic" hard-core war game at its core.


Damn straight and don't you fergit it!

(in reply to berto)
Post #: 77
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 11:47:12 AM   
Rtwfreak

 

Posts: 381
Joined: 12/11/2011
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quote:

ORIGINAL: CarnageINC


quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil

On the issue of why are we not using PC performance to make bigger/detailed games - The PC has far more processing power than AI would actually need if programmed well. The performance really only comes in to play The issue is that creating a good AI is something that is specific to a game and its set of rules and a huge huge task that gets exponentially more complex as the game gets more complex so doing it for the complex games takes a lot of time and money. The AI has to be scripted to some extent in complex games as its impossible to really evaluate the rules and game situation. Even chess AI can beaten by a human and that game is extremely simple in terms of rules and scope. You cannot reuse the good AI from one game to the next so you start from scratch on the next game as it has different rules. There are sometimes elements you can reuse but it doesn't save much time. The other issue is the AI has to evolve as the game evolves. Lets say for example you add a small feature near the end of development - this could completely break the AI unless it properly accounts for it. Lets say you re-balance some stats - again this could break the AI.


Here is a novel idea, why not make PC war games without a AI. Do something similar to vassal but have the computer keep all the record keeping of what ever it needs, just like a normal pbem game. I know you kill off some of the market for solitary players but if they want to play they can do what regular board gamers have done for generations, play hot seat both sides.

This way you can make very complex games without worrying about how a AI will react. Has it been done? Shouldn't it be tried?


Because the "majority" of their market wouldn't buy it. The majority of gamers buy games because games do have AI (though not very good). You cut off that portion of the computer game and you'll lose a ton of market share. Gamers even as far back in the 80's bought computer games to play solo against or a solo adventure. Only a handful would buy an AI-less game. I know I wouldn't buy them.

Plus as you said your type of playing already has an avenue to play like that it's called "Vassal". go play it.

< Message edited by Rtwfreak -- 3/7/2013 11:49:46 AM >

(in reply to CarnageINC)
Post #: 78
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 12:55:25 PM   
Perturabo


Posts: 2281
Joined: 11/17/2007
Status: offline
quote:

ORIGINAL: Punk Reaper


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

It may be "silly" to you, but frankly, I much prefer a game that involves the British as this gives me more interest in the subject matter. Yes, I have played games with no direct British involvement - WITE for example - but this is not my preferred game type.



I'll second that.

That's why we can't have good things.

_____________________________

Without social solidarity manifested in the form of welfare state, people inhabiting one territory are a non-nation of mortal enemies engaged in competition for survival.

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Post #: 79
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 1:46:37 PM   
ComradeP

 

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In terms of wargames not always using the PC's current capabilities: the lack of stellar AI's is just part of it. Even parts of the game where the PC can be used as a glorified calculator are often somewhat neglected, such as logistics. Most wargames have a remarkably "simple" logistics system compared to the complexity of their terrain and combat systems.

quote:


I don't think that Americans are inherently more self-centered in this way than any other nationality. It's just that we are the 800-pound gorilla of the global war gaming market.


I didn't mean to imply it's a uniquely American problem, just that it's happening. However, as stated areas like the PTO or North Africa are not well covered either on the operational level by a wargame solely about that area, although I guess WitP:AE covers the operational level fairly well due to there being far fewer divisions involved than in most Western/Eastern Front games, even though it's a strategic level game. Still, it would be refreshing to have more North Africa and PTO games.

One oddity of the wargaming market is that battles that are covered by boardgames can be completely absent in the PC wargame library, or vice versa (for example: I can't shake the feeling that battles in Antiquity are more popular with PC game developers than with boardgame developers, relative to the size of their markets and the number of released products per category).

quote:

Would the popularity of the Eastern Front among Americans (not to say all the world's war gamers) suggest that, at heart, we Americans are secretly Commies? Or Nazis? (Don't answer that! )


Kidding aside, the Eastern Front, too, has its battles that every developers seems to want to explore in his own way: usually Zitadelle/the battles for Kursk-Orel-Belgorod and Uranus/Stalingrad.

As a Dutchman, the battles the Dutch fought in May 1940 are covered reasonably well as a sideshow in some wargames about Fall Gelb, but the battles that were fought in the Dutch East Indies are not.

< Message edited by ComradeP -- 3/7/2013 1:48:18 PM >


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Post #: 80
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 3:14:37 PM   
berto


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ComradeP

... although I guess WitP:AE covers the operational level fairly well due to there being far fewer divisions involved than in most Western/Eastern Front games, even though it's a strategic level game ...



WITP:AE models every LCU (land combat unit, down to battalions and even companies), ship (as small as midget subs, cargo ships, PT boats, etc.), air squadron, and pilot that fought the Pacific War. For every combatant nation involved. Thousands of units and distinct combat entities, far more than any Western/Eastern Front games, WITE included.

quote:

As a Dutchman, the battles the Dutch fought in May 1940 are covered reasonably well as a sideshow in some wargames about Fall Gelb, but the battles that were fought in the Dutch East Indies are not.

I am extremely interested in PTO sideshows. A year or two ago, one of the WITP:AE devs released a monster DEI scenario, subsequently pulled. It's planned for a comeback. I can't wait!


< Message edited by berto -- 3/8/2013 6:46:49 AM >


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Post #: 81
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 5:46:16 PM   
wodin


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Here is another novel idea..no AI..no sale. An extremely selfish view point in my opinion. Single players..oh s#d em. The whole reason I loved computer games from being a kid is because I didn't need to find anyone else to play against..looking at my collection of boardgames that where never played the computer was a godsend. Command Ops show sit can be done..but I think certain developers these days border on being Lazy..hence so many multiplayer and MMO games..
quote:

ORIGINAL: CarnageINC


quote:

ORIGINAL: Iain McNeil

On the issue of why are we not using PC performance to make bigger/detailed games - The PC has far more processing power than AI would actually need if programmed well. The performance really only comes in to play The issue is that creating a good AI is something that is specific to a game and its set of rules and a huge huge task that gets exponentially more complex as the game gets more complex so doing it for the complex games takes a lot of time and money. The AI has to be scripted to some extent in complex games as its impossible to really evaluate the rules and game situation. Even chess AI can beaten by a human and that game is extremely simple in terms of rules and scope. You cannot reuse the good AI from one game to the next so you start from scratch on the next game as it has different rules. There are sometimes elements you can reuse but it doesn't save much time. The other issue is the AI has to evolve as the game evolves. Lets say for example you add a small feature near the end of development - this could completely break the AI unless it properly accounts for it. Lets say you re-balance some stats - again this could break the AI.


Here is a novel idea, why not make PC war games without a AI. Do something similar to vassal but have the computer keep all the record keeping of what ever it needs, just like a normal pbem game. I know you kill off some of the market for solitary players but if they want to play they can do what regular board gamers have done for generations, play hot seat both sides.

This way you can make very complex games without worrying about how a AI will react. Has it been done? Shouldn't it be tried?



< Message edited by wodin -- 3/7/2013 5:50:44 PM >


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Post #: 82
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 6:47:39 PM   
Matti Kuokkanen

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

Iain..why aren't wargames then taking all that PC power and doing something with it. Yes tablets can do this and that but they are still no where nears as powerful as a PC.

Surely something innovative could come along and reshape how we see grog like wargames by using the power of the modern day PC. I'm not talking 3D RTS style or anything here but may really beautiful 3D maps or 3D Overlays..I'm not sure what can be done to be honest to use the power..but surely something can be..surely we haven't gone as far as we can do when it comes to the more Grog like wargames?

I like Settlers 7. But then again, I'm not grognard who'd enjoy WitP...

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Post #: 83
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 7:07:10 PM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Perturabo

quote:

ORIGINAL: Punk Reaper


quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1

It may be "silly" to you, but frankly, I much prefer a game that involves the British as this gives me more interest in the subject matter. Yes, I have played games with no direct British involvement - WITE for example - but this is not my preferred game type.



I'll second that.

That's why we can't have good things.
warspite1

Eh?

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Post #: 84
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/7/2013 11:26:47 PM   
Mobeer


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A few scattered thoughts:

Any game I buy has to have an AI. Ideally the AI is competent if not clever. The AI should be free from making stupid mistakes, but need not be super clever. Have the game multi-threaded so the AI figures out it's moves while I work out mine.

I'm sure I did read somewhere about commanding 100 units in real life - maybe a Japanese river crossing in 1904 when the Russian general commanded all his battalions directly (and not very well)?



As for epic (computer) war games:

1 - Complexity needs careful pruning. I don't see why as commander of the entire Allied war effort, I need to tell my squadrons to fly at X feet against the Japanese. Let's either set a high level doctrine, or just assume one. Depth does not come from complexity alone and quality and complexity are trade-offs (along with cost).

2 - Graphics are important; they have to be functional and pretty is better. But graphics alone don't make a game. I like a chess game with an elegant 2D design better than an ugly 2D design, but also like a adequate 2D design more than pretty 3D. I don't think that expensive graphics are needed for a epic wargame, but this is not an excuse for horrible graphics.

3 - They should be easy to pick up or put aside so that they can fit into a busy lifestyle. Requiring constant attention is a pain, so having tools to keep track of what is happening helps.

4 - Following 3: They need to be rewarding in some sense within a short period. I would like to be able to complete a turn in 15 minutes, so if I have an hour, I can have 4 turns. Bombing the Reich puts me off completely by seeming to need an hour for 1 turn.

5 - Taking years in development is no good. There needs to be more frequent versions to get earlier revenue. And maybe downloadable content like editors, scenarios, add-on tools.

6 - Whatever happened to marketing?

< Message edited by Mobeer -- 3/8/2013 6:22:35 PM >

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Post #: 85
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/8/2013 4:03:32 AM   
Jamm


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quote:

ORIGINAL: PipFromSlitherine



Super-high-quality graphics are very expensive to produce, and yet generally will not give you a huge boost to the sales of a hardcore wargame (there does, in fact, appear to be a % of hardcore gamers that consider good visuals to be a sign that the game can't be very good... ).

Cheers

Pip




I myself think graphics are the easiest part of a wargame to produce and cannot understand why so many are uninspired.
The game has to be good, but if it's butt ugly, I'm not buying it.



< Message edited by Jamm -- 3/8/2013 4:06:17 AM >


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Post #: 86
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/8/2013 12:24:41 PM   
ComradeP

 

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quote:

WITP:AE models every LCU (land combat unit, down to battalions and even companies), ship (as small as midget subs, cargo ships, PT boats, etc.), air squadron, and pilot that fought the Pacific War. For every combatant nation involved. Thousands of units and distinct combat entities, far more than any Western/Eastern Front games, WITE included.


My point was probably too vague: what I meant was that even though WitP:AE has all the units, it doesn't have an operational level map scale and the land combat model that is also somewhat more abstract than you would find in the average operational level game even though ground elements and/or men are counted as casualties (instead of casualties being abstracted into either some sort of step system or losses of companies/battalions).

One of the more surprising features of WitP:AE, to me, is the more operational level than strategic level time scale per turn. WitP:AE is, however, at its core not an operational level land combat wargame, even though it has an effective land combat component.

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Post #: 87
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/8/2013 1:03:28 PM   
Iain McNeil


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On the point about having no AI its really about sales.

The vast majority of people want a single player experience. That's the reality and so we have to provide it to them.

You can design games around the idea of multiplayer, but they need to be different in design and structure and tend to be lighter. E.g. games like Hero Academy.

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Post #: 88
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/8/2013 1:38:54 PM   
pzgndr

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Arjuna

With no disrespect catwhoorg, scripting is never going to produce good AI. Scripting as its usually referred to is scenario specific. Even with conditional scripting once you have played it a few times you will know that it will do X or Y but never Z and so it can be easily beat. If you want good AI you have to move to a generic system where the AI controlled forces are situationally aware, can adapt to what they find happening and can develop a plan to suit.


Never? I disagree. The Strategic Command series has matured to the point where the event and AI scripting is very powerful. There is sufficient variability to provide uncertainty. Even when I play my Advanced Third Reich mod with the scripting I wrote, I am still surprised by what the AI does. There are still AI weaknesses to be sure, as if every human player is infallible (sure!), but the AI is still very challenging and not easily beat on higher difficulty levels.

I will say that having been through this exercise in developing my mod and scripting the AI over the past several years (yes, years), it does take considerable time to create numerous (hundreds) clever and nefarious scripted strategies, and verify them with many many AI vs AI games to see what works well and what doesn't. So, I fully understand how time consuming it all is just for text-based scripting, even without code programming, but it is possible in the long run.

I raised the issue in another thread about the status of old games and how we can encourage developers to continue to improve and enhance games well after release, for additional features and better AI. Seems like the model is for a developer to create a game on his own dime, then make some sales, and then... move on. And that's life. But we can still go out and buy a '64 Mustang and refurbish it and extend its life quite a bit. How can we do that with old games? If there's a hobbyist with an interest in updating an old code and enough determination to improve it for the community, then it would be nice to find a way to allow that to happen. Because in reality it probably will be a hobby effort, a labor of love, cuz there's not a lot of opportunity for financial gain beyond a certain point.

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Post #: 89
RE: The Future Of Complex Wargames Looks Bleak - 3/8/2013 1:50:57 PM   
Iain McNeil


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I completely agree on the scripting - I would be surprised if there is any complex game with a competent AI that is not at least partially scripted.

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